Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair nabs two top-five finishes at state
Battle Mountain girls contingent is in line for a top-three finish
The Colorado state track and field championships began early Thursday morning at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood with runners from Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools competing in 4A and Vail Christian competing in 2A.
Eagle Valley junior Samantha Blair placed in the top five not once, but twice in the first two days of competition.
In the largest track venue in Colorado, Blair took fifth place in the 3200-meter race Thursday morning, and second place in the 800-meter Friday afternoon.
In the 3200, Blair broke the school record with a time of 10 minutes, 59 seconds.
Not to mention that the previous record holder was her older sister, Joslin Blair, who is now a collegiate runner at Vanderbilt.
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Head coach Jeff Shroll made a comment early Friday morning after the 3200 and before Blair’s 800. “All of these races are hers to run. She is versatile. I expect her to be able to run at high levels in each upcoming event,” Shroll said.
And he was right — it wasn’t the last time Blair would be seen at the front of the pack.
Soon after, Blair took her mark in lane six of the 800 after coming in with a qualifying time of 2.11.89. While she didn’t beat her personal best, she finished second at state with a time of 2.13.17.
“I’m an overthinker,” Blair said Friday as she described how she mentally prepares for the starting gun.“I try to focus on the race to get out of my head.”
In Thursday’s 3200, Eagle Valley’s Jordan Neifert took 15th behind Blair (11:30.86).
The pre-race tent is filled with familiar faces according to Blair. “Everyone is super nice, but also great competitors,” she said. Blair was coached to try to stick with runner Madison Shults, a sophomore from Niwot High School.
Blair’s coaches described her as tenacious.
“She leads by example and doesn’t do anything unless she gives it 110%.” said Shroll, who jokingly added that Blair’s only weakness is a “forward lean as she runs.”
“This year was different,” Blair said, “I really defined myself as a runner. After my sister graduated I didn’t have anyone to rely on for my pace.”
Blair still has one more race to run in the state competition — the 1600-meter on Saturday at 4:05 p.m.
“I am going to ice my legs, drink lots of water, and finish the night with pasta — my go-to” she said.
Huskies girls eye top-three finish
While Blair was leading the Devils, Battle Mountain’s girls team is in striking distance of a top-three finish at state with 30 points at the end of Friday’s 4A action, trailing Niwot (78) and leading Palmer Ridge (28) by two points.
Huskies senior Elliot Pribramsky, who attends Vail Mountain School, took seventh in Friday’s 800 in 2:18.04 while freshman Lindsey Kiehl was just off Primbramsky’s pace in ninth (2:18.36).
Also on Thursday, the Huskies 4×800 relay team of Kiehl, sophomore Milaina Almonte, sophomore Lily Whelan and Pribramsky took second for 8 points with a time of 9:32.45.
Junior Augustine Hancock took second in Thursday’s discus competition with a throw of 125 feet and finished fifth in Friday’s shot put competition with a throw of 34 feet.
Huskies seniors Emma Reeder and Kiki Lettovska were just on the cusp of qualifying for Saturday’s 100-meter hurdles final, with Reeder finishing 10th (16.82) in Thurday’s prelim and Kiki Lettovska 11th (16.84) in Thursday’s prelim race. The top nine runners advanced to Saturday.
Reeder was also 14th (48.25) in Friday’s 300-meter hurdles prelim, missing the cut for Saturday’s final.
Pribramsky and Whelan can still score points for the Huskies in Saturday’s 1600.
Vail Christian results
Vail Christian’s Lindsey Whitton logged a pair of third-place finishes in the 800 and 3200 in the 2A competition. In Friday’s 800, Whitton finished in 2:25.97 behind Isabel Case of Colorado Springs Christian and just a hair behind runner-up Eowyn Dalbec of Peyton. Her time of 12:07.25 in Thursday’s 3200 put her behind runner-up Dalbec (12:02.34) again and race winner Zaila Smith of Buena Vista (12:00.18).
Whitton’s teammate Addison Beuche finished 15th (2:40.90) in the 800 and took 10th in the 3200 (13:12.19).
Both Saints freshmen runners have one more race: Saturday’s 1600.
“They are upbeat, outgoing and energetic girls,” said J.J. Cunningham, who coaches the Saints. “They feed off each other.”
The Saints boys took fifth in Thursday’s 4×800 with a time of 8:49.64. Senior Andres Ascencio started the race and passed off to senior Langley Cerovich who passed the baton to senior Kaden Williams. Freshman Jorge Sinaloa ran the anchor leg.
Williams also ran the 3200 on Thursday, finishing 11th in 10:45.11. Sinaloa took 11th in Friday’s 800 with a time of 2:06.68.
Nate Peterson contributed reporting.
Vail Daily intern Noelle Harff can be reached at email@example.com.